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April 11, 2013

The Iraq War, 10 years later – Lesson Plan

By Imani M. Cheers, Ph.D.


Social Studies, History, World History

Estimated Time

Two-Three 45 minute periods

Grade Level

10th – 12th


Students Will:

  • Get an overview of the Iraq War through a montage from the PBS NewsHour.
  • Discuss views and knowledge of the Iraq War.


March 20, 2013 marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but was also the bloodiest day of this year as insurgents staged multiple attacks, assassinating a high-level minister and killing dozens more.

Although President George W. Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq in May 2003, U.S. military troops were there until December 2011.

Nearly 4,500 Americans were killed alongside more than 100,000 Iraqis.

Before the final combat troop withdrawal on Aug. 19, 2010, officially ending Operation Iraqi Freedom almost seven and a half years after it had begun, the United States and Iraq saw highs and lows in a conflict that continues to be the subject of debate to this day.


Pose the following questions to students:

  • Write down 5 things you know about the Iraq War?
  • How did it begin?
  • What reasons were given for invading Iraq?

Have students watch the following video from PBS NewsHour and lead a discussion.

  • What did you learn about the invasion of Iraq that you did not know before?
  • Do you think invading Iraq was the right decision?  Why or why not? Cite 3 supporting details from the video.
  • How has world has changed since the invasion of Iraq?

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  • Standards

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    Relevant National Standards:
      Common Core Standards
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
    • National Standards
    • Standard 1: Understands the characteristics and uses of maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technologies
    • World History
    • Standard 45: Understands major global trends since World War II
    • Writing
    • Standard 1: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
    • Standard 4: Gathers and uses information for research purposes
    • Reading
    • Standard 5: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
    • Standard 7: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts
    • Listening and Speaking
    • Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
    • Viewing
    • Standard 9: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media Working with Others
    • Standard 1: Contributes to the overall effort of a group
    • Standard 4: Displays effective interpersonal communication skills
    • Thinking and Reasoning
    • Standard 1: Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument
    • Standard 6: Applies decision-making techniques

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